Congressional Black Caucus

The 13 founding members of the CBC in the early 1970s. Standing L–R: Parren Mitchell (MD), Charles B. Rangel (NY), Bill Clay, Sr. (MO), Ron Dellums (CA), George Collins (IL), Louis Stokes (OH), Ralph Metcalfe (IL), John Conyers (MI), and Walter Fauntroy (DC). Seated L-R: Robert Nix, Sr. (PA), Charles Diggs (MI), Shirley Chisholm (NY), and Gus Hawkins (CA).

The Congressional Black Caucus is an organization representing the black members of the United States Congress. Membership is exclusive to African-Americans, and its chair in the 112th Congress is Representative Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri.

The caucus describes its goals as “positively influencing the course of events pertinent to African-Americans and others of similar experience and situation”, and “achieving greater equity for persons of African descent in the design and content of domestic and international programs and services.” (more…)

Oscar J Dunn

Oscar James Dunn, Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana 1868-1871

Oscar James Dunn, Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana 1868-1871

Oscar James Dunn (1826 – November 22, 1871) was one of three African Americans who served as a Republican Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana during the era of Reconstruction. In 1868, Dunn became the first elected black lieutenant governor of a U.S. state. He ran on the ticket headed by Henry Clay Warmoth, formerly of Illinois. After Dunn died in office, then-state Senator P. B. S. Pinchback, another black Republican, became lieutenant governor and thereafter governor for a 34-day interim period.

On December 22, 1866, Dunn testified before a select committee appointed to investigate the New Orleans Riot of July 30, 1866. He told the committee that he was “born in New Orleans in 1826 and was about forty-one years old”. His parents were James and Maria Dunn. His father, James Dunn of Petersburg, Virginia, had been emancipated in 1819 by James H. Caldwell in New Orleans. James Dunn became a free man of color and later emancipated his wife, Maria, and their two children, Oscar and Jane, in 1832. James Dunn worked as a carpenter for James H. Caldwell (founder of the St. Charles Theatre and New Orleans Gas Light Company); Maria Dunn ran a boarding house for actors and actresses that came to perform at the Caldwell theatres.  (more…)

Anderew Brimmer

William E. Sauro/The New York Times Andrew F. Brimmer in 1974, shortly after he resigned from the Fed board.

William E. Sauro/The New York Times
Andrew F. Brimmer in 1974, shortly after he resigned from the Fed board.

Andrew F. Brimmer, a Louisiana sharecropper’s son, was the first black member of the Federal Reserve Board.  Dr. Brimmer, an economist, held a number of high-ranking posts in Washington and taught at Harvard, but the economic conditions of poor, powerless, uneducated blacks was an abiding concern. He spoke about what he called the “schismâ€� between blacks who were educated and had marketable skills and those who did not. In later years he spoke frequently about how government policies no longer supported programs to help blacks enter the economic mainstream.

Dr. Brimmer was the assistant secretary of commerce for economic affairs when President Lyndon B. Johnson named him to the Fed board in 1966.

At the time, the Federal Reserve was bitterly divided over monetary policy. The chairman, William McChesney Martin Jr., threatened to resign if Mr. Johnson appointed a liberal who would vote in favor of lower interest rates.  (more…)

Julian Bond

Julian Bond

HORACE JULIAN BOND (Jan. 14, 1940 – Aug. 15, 2015), U.S. legislator and black civil-rights leader, best known for his fight to take his duly elected seat in the Georgia House of Representatives.  The son of prominent educators, Bond attended Morehouse College in Atlanta (B.A., 1971), where he helped found a civil-rights group and led a sit-in movement intended to desegregate Atlanta lunch counters.

In 1960 Bond joined in creating the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and he later served as communications director for the group. In 1965 he won a seat in the Georgia state legislature, but his endorsement of a SNCC statement accusing the United States of violating international law in Vietnam prompted the legislature to refuse to admit him.  (more…)

George L. Brown

George L. Brown

George L. Brown

George L. Brown

George Leslie Brown (July 1, 1926 – March 31, 2006) was an American politician. He served in the Colorado Senate from 1955 to 1974 and as the 40th Lieutenant Governor of Colorado from 1975 to 1979. He was also a Sr. Vice President with Grumman Corporation. During World War II, he served as a Tuskegee Airman. Together with California’s Mervyn Dymally, he was one of the first two Black lieutenant-governors sinceReconstruction and outside of any southern state.

Growing up on a farm in Kansas, Brown was a star athlete in basketball, football and track before graduating from Lawrence Liberty Memorial High School in 1944. Brown graduated from the University of Kansas in 1950 with a B.S. in journalism. He also did graduate work at Harvard Business School, the University of Colorado and the University of Denver.  (more…)

Carol Moseley-Braun

Carol Moseley-Braun

Carol Moseley-Braun

Carol Moseley-Braun

The first African-American woman Senator, Carol Moseley-Braun was also only the second black Senator since the Reconstruction Era. “I cannot escape the fact that I come to the Senate as a symbol of hope and change,” Moseley-Braun said shortly after being sworn in to office in 1993. “Nor would I want to, because my presence in and of itself will change the U.S. Senate.” During her single term in office, Senator Moseley-Braun advocated for civil rights issues and for legislation on crime, education, and families.

Carol Moseley was born in Chicago, Illinois, on August 16, 1947. Her parents, Joseph Moseley, a policeman, and her mother, Edna (Davie) Moseley, a medical technician, divorced in 1963. The oldest of the four Moseley children in a middle-class family, Carol graduated from Parker High School in Chicago and earned a B.A. in political science from the University of Illinois in 1969.   (more…)